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She’ll be coming around the mountain, but what will her road look like? Take a real or invented mountain, model it out of clay, and discover how we can represent it using topography. So what is topography, anyway? It's a field of earth science that involves studying and modeling the surface shapes and features of the earth (and even other planets!). Whether you have a picture of a mountain in your mind or you have a mountain of your own you’d like to create, this hands-on experiment will help you understand the tough work of a cartographer.Cartographers make, read, and learn from maps. You may have seen maps that look like a lot of squiggly lines on paper. These are topographic maps. Sometimes the lines are wiggly; sometimes they are straight. They may be very close together or far apart. These lines represent the three-dimensional landscape drawn in two dimensions. Elevation, or the height of a landform, can be tough to show in two dimensions. The steepness, also known as the slope, can be hard to demonstrate as well—but it’s possible!To make a 3-D landscape on a flat piece of paper, mapmakers draw lines called contours. These lines represent points that are all equal in elevation, or height. The contour interval, or the space between lines, tells you how much of an elevation change there is between those two places. When the lines on a topographic map are far apart, the land in between them has a gentle slope, and when they are close together, the land has a steep slope.There are other ways of representing a 3D reality on a 2D map as well. If you’ve looked at older maps, you may also see hachures. These are short line segments or curves drawn in the direction of a steep slope.

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Fecha publicación: 12.5.2016

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